H/T Magnetic for this article in Spiked:
For the past 50 years, the public-health movement has been bashing away at smokers. It’s a filthy, dirty habit and it should be stamped out, they say. Through labels, taxes, lectures and bans, the hoped for ‘end game’ for tobacco seems closer than ever. The self-righteous prohibitionists not only want to inform us of the health risks of the evil weed, but through nudging, cajoling and even outright legal force, they want to stop us from smoking altogether. They know what is good for us, even if we don’t.
But the ambitions of these health wonks – and the politicians who support them – are not restricted to the humble cigarette. No, having figured out how to batter smokers into near submission, they want to apply the same playbook to almost any other form of enjoyment. The quest is on for ‘the new tobacco’. And the candidates are piling up.
Like for example (H/T Audrey Silk) handshakes:
FRIDAY, May 16, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Regulations to restrict handshakes in the health care setting, along with more robust hand hygiene programs, may help limit the spread of disease, according to a viewpoint published online May 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Mark Sklansky, M.D., from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues acknowledge that the handshake has a profound cultural role and holds interpersonal significance, as well as commercial importance. While providers’ handshakes with patients can be perceived as signs of compassion, they can also spread germs.
The authors propose that lessons from smoking bans should be applied to handshakes. Given that warnings of smoking’s harms and subsequent bans were able to cut a deeply entrenched habit, the same may be possible with handshakes. “Handshake-free zones” should be established along with educational programs and signage. A replacement gesture may need to be adopted also.
“Removing the handshake from the health care setting may ultimately become recognized as an important way to protect the health of patients and caregivers, rather than as a personal insult to whoever refuses another’s hand,” the authors write.
What would the replacement gesture be? Hugs or kisses would obviously be even worse than handshakes.
So how about a raised middle finger?
And of course there’s always food:
Food should be regulated like tobacco, say campaigners
The food industry should be regulated like the tobacco industry as obesity poses a greater global health risk than cigarettes, say international groups.
Consumers International and the World Obesity Federation are calling for the adoption of more stringent rules.
These could include pictures on food packaging of damage caused by obesity, similar to those on cigarette packets.
The new rules could include reducing the levels of salt, saturated fat and sugar in food, improving food served in hospitals and schools, imposing stricter advertising controls, and educating the public about healthy eating.
Obesity poses a greater global health risk than cigarettes? I wonder if handshakes also pose a greater global health risk than cigarettes? At this rate we’ll find out that more or less everything poses a greater global health risk than cigarettes. Which is what I always thought anyway.
The possibilities are limitless. After they’ve banned handshakes, they could then ban talking. Because whenever you open your mouth and say something, you breathe out a cloud of millions of plague and anthrax and tuberculosis germs. So don’t say, “Hello. Pleased to meet you.” Just give them the replacement gesture, and let your eyebrows do the talking.
Actually, handshakes are the least of it. In fact, whenever people meet up at pubs or cafes or restaurants, they’re all just breathing out plague and anthrax and tuberculosis and rabies germs the whole time all over everybody else. Particularly if they’re all yapping away at each other. Simplest thing would be to just ban pubs, cafes, and restaurants. And also theatres, cinemas, and sports stadiums. And buses and trains and passenger jets. And shops, offices, factories. Anywhere people can catch germs from other people.
Best of all, I reckon, would be to close down hospitals. After all, where do people go when they’ve just contracted plague or tuberculosis or rabies on a crowded train? Why, hospitals of course! So hospitals are full of sick people, spraying germs in all directions. You might go into hospital one day with Legionnaire’s disease, and come out a few days later with cholera or beri-beri instead. Best to simply restrict sick people to their own homes, if necessary bricking up their front doors so they can’t get out.
Actually, you should restrict ‘well’ people to their own homes too. After all, a ‘well’ person is just someone who hasn’t got pneumonia or typhoid or meningitis or cancer yet. But probably soon will, if allowed to wander around unregulated outside. After all, the outdoor environment is full of germs. Everything is coated in germs out there. Did you know that there are 40 million bacteria in every gramme of soil? And guess how many grammes of soil there are in every garden?
One hell of a lot. So obviously they should ban gardens and parks. And potted plants. And gardening. And farming. And hiking and rambling.
At this rate we’ll all soon be shuffling around in our bricked-up homes with Kleenex boxes for shoes, like Howard Hughes.
So when is Kleenex going to start marketing proper shoe-shaped boxes?